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Calls for government to scrap two child limit amid record levels of child poverty

New data shows a strong correlation between constituencies with high rates of child poverty and the two-child limit as a coalition of over 120 organisations calls on all political parties to scrap the policy.

10/06/24

Calls for government to scrap two child limit amid record levels of child poverty

Two-thirds of new constituencies for the upcoming General Election have at least a quarter of children living in poverty, a new study reveals.

Data analysed by Loughborough University for the End Child Poverty Coalition finds that across the UK over 30% of children are in poverty – equivalent to nine children in every classroom.

Researchers said the data also shows a strong correlation between constituencies with a high child poverty rate and the prevalence of the two-child limit – the limit imposed in the Budget after the 2015 General Election meaning that families could only get more Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for their third (or more) child if they were born before 6 April 2017.

Scrapping the two-child limit was one of 40 priorities set out for the next UK Government by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), saying the “regressive and unfair policy means that those who need the most support will most likely be affected. It disproportionately penalises larger families, lone parents, people with high housing costs and those assessed not fit for work.”

The End Child Poverty Coalition also highlights that child poverty imposes a shocking annual cost of over £39 billion to the UK.

This includes increased public service expenditures and lost economic output due to lower earnings potential among adults who grew up in impoverished conditions.

The research has prompted a coalition of over 120 organisations, including the Child Poverty Action Group and Save the Children UK, to warn all political parties that time is running out and they must prioritise child poverty in their campaigns with bold and decisive action.

Joseph Howes, CEO of Buttle UK and Chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition, said child poverty is an “urgent issue that demands decisive action”.

“The data is undeniable – too many children are in a cycle of deprivation that affects their health, education, and future prospects.

“It is time to dismantle these barriers and the elections will provide a critical platform for committing to systemic changes to uplift families and give every child the opportunity to thrive.”

Sara Ogilvie, Director of Policy, Rights and Advocacy at Child Poverty Action Group, added that children need all political leaders to commit to abolishing the two-child limit.

“No trajectory for the UK looks good while more than 4 million children are in poverty.”

Read the full report ‘Local indicators of child poverty after housing costs, 2022/23’: https://endchildpoverty.org.uk/child-poverty-2024/

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